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What Is Real And What Is Unreal?



Over the 14 years that have ensued, many more revelations unfolded from that powerful experience. I have come to understand that not only nothing happened to me, but even more profoundly nothing really happened at all. I started this talk by saying I would like to share a story with you that is not real, that never happened, and that had no affect on truth. What do I mean by that? Did anything happen at all? Was any of it real? The story wasn't real, the rape wasn't real, the brutality wasn't real, the fear wasn't real, but the peace I felt was real, the compassion I felt was real, the presence of God was real, the Atma, my true Self was real.

If none of the horror was real, and yet I felt so deeply affected by it, what was going on? I wanted to find the cause. Only in uncovering the cause of a problem can I hope for a solution. Some of you may believe that the whole thing was God's will. After all, isn't everything that happens God's will? When I prayed to Baba, "Swami, how could you let this happen to me?" it was clearly my belief that it could only have happened because it was God's will. But this created a real problem for me. In my mind nothing untoward could happen to me because I loved God and He would protect me. I had been a good devotee, I did my sadhana, and felt God's love.

In my mind, God's love for me had manifested in many ways, in Sai Baba materializing a ring for me and presenting me his robe for the Center's altar, and in many deep inner spiritual revelations, dreams and visions which I experienced as tokens of God's love. Then how could God let this horrible thing happen? Of course, this assumes that God did let this happen. If He did wouldn't that make Him cruel? What kind of a God would permit such horrors to happen? Certainly God does not wish us to suffer. God is pure love. He loves us so incredibly. There is simply no way that God could have wished this for me.

The other obvious alternative is that there was a rapist out there over whom I had no control and who the divinity could not prevent, who caused this to happen. Certainly this is how the world would see it. Isn't personal security a major issue for us? So much effort goes into protecting ourselves from hostile forces outside of ourselves. But is that really how it is? How could I possibly return to normalcy, if this were so? Then at every turn, I could expect another incident. There could be no peace if this were true. Could the divinity be that impotent? I simply can't accept that a rapist randomly breaking in and assaulting me could be the full story, particularly on Shivaratri night in a Sai Center.

Well then, if God is not the cause and if the rapist is not the cause, then the only other possibility is that I am the cause; that I did this to myself. That's a tough one. Not only did this nightmare happen to me, but now I am owning that it was my own doing. I arranged the whole thing. Wow! It was I who arranged this horrible thing? But that's impossible. Why would I do something so utterly insane? Why would I do something so hurtful, so humiliating, so devastating? What purpose could it possibly serve? If I'm the author and the director of this movie, and let me tell you that I have known myself all my life to be so positive in every way, a real Pollyanna, then something must have gone badly wrong. But was this script really so unreasonable?

Think about it. If I'm desperately attempting at all cost to maintain my individuality and autonomy, which is what we all have been doing for countless lives, then doesn't this story dramatically keep the belief intact that I am a body separate from other bodies who can hurt me, that I am vulnerable and subject to dying at any moment, and that even God himself and all the protection of his temple could not save me? What I am admitting to myself is that I would even be willing to hurt myself so drastically, to the point of death, to hold on to my belief in separation and make the unreal real for me. And so this whole drama was put there by me to verify my own self-identity. This is the insidiousness of the ego thought system, with which I have allied. But once I recognize that I am the cause, I can see that I am also the solution. If I did this to myself, then I can also undo this. How?



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